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Mitchell Alexander Headshot

Liberalism and My Generation

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At his second inauguration, President Barack Obama delivered what could be considered his most liberal speech to date.

Climate change, immigration reform, foreign policy, the economy and marriage equality all had a piece of the 2,095 words he spoke during his final inaugural address.

More importantly, he didn't just speak about these issues: He presented them from a liberal perspective, and it could even be said that he is our generation's FDR.

There's the kicker -- our generation.

It delights me to no end knowing that a large portion of my age group is comprised of fearless, center-left progressives with no hesitation to speak their mind. A generation of freedom and equality, we have liberated ourselves from the burden of bigotry that plagues many a conservative American. The "real America" illusion perpetuated by the right has been finally acknowledged as a fallacy by a generation that understands that our nation is a melting pot of different cultures and identities. We have legitimized that women exist and that they have rights; we have realized that there exists different religions beyond Christianity; we have understood that aberrations from heterosexuality are a predisposition, not a curable ailment.

In 2013, racism is still an issue. Misogyny is still an issue. LGBT rights are still an issue. Oppression is still commonplace in our nation, and the discrimination does not discriminate. Minority groups, women and gays still have to take two steps to accomplish what a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant male can reach in only one.

However, as was evidenced in November's election, there is only one way our generation will move -- forward.

Conservatism, at its core, exists only to impede progress, be it social or otherwise. Conservatives opposed the abolition of slavery. They believed a woman had no place at the polls and were staunch proponents of segregation. They fought against removing public prayer from our schools. And they still continue to stunt the progress of our nation today.

Naturally, there exist traditionalists and moderates in every generation. But I truly believe that this generation is different. We have an aura of tolerance and hope, and America will come closer than it ever has before to total equality in our lifetime.

It is with our sense of tolerance and hope that we will serve as the trailblazers for a better America -- an America in which opportunity is a right, not a luxury reserved for the privileged few. We dream of an America lacking in racism and sexism and intolerance. We dream of an America in which our brothers and sisters can love who they want under the law. Most importantly, we dream of an America that is, with no exceptions, equal for all.

That's what's so great about young people -- they are steadfast and stubborn and relentless in their quest to express their opinions. Last November, headlines suggested that the young vote, a key demographic for the Democrats, wouldn't turn out like they did in 2008. However, the 18-29 age group amassed one more percentage point of the total electorate in 2012 than they did in 2008. And 60 percent voted blue.

Certain pundits are referring to our nation's newly increased approval rating of Obama as a return of the age of liberalism. It's not uncommon to hear "center-left America" thrown around on left-leaning radio and television programs.

However, I see it differently. Once my progressive generation begins to show up to the polls, and once enough time has passed for us to leak out of the "18-29" demographic, a logical conclusion would not be that the age of liberalism has returned, but rather that the age of conservatism has left.

Years from now, students will listen in history classes as their teachers speak of the demise of the Republican party. At this rate, they face an ultimatum: adapt or die out. I don't see them compromising any time soon, so I'm going to predict that they're going the way of the whigs.

RIP GOP.